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Wedding Receptions: How To Set Up The Tables

Getting the wedding tables right can make a big difference to your wedding reception. Get things right, and the reception will be a great event enjoyed by all, with everyone having fun and no-one getting stressed. Get it wrong though, and people will be bored, worried and confused.

There's one common mistake that people make that often kills conversations at a reception before they can even start. It's easily avoided, but I've seen way too many receptions ruined because of this one simple mistake. But I'll discuss that later - first I need to cover the seating arrangements...

When setting the seating positions, you should start with the bride and groom. Place the bride and groom together, with the groom on the left hand-side of the bride.

From here there are 2 standard ways to set up the guests:

With the first way set the Chief Bridesmaid and Best Man to the right-handside of the bride. Then place a groomsman and a bridesmaid to the left of the groom, and then another groomsman and a bridesmaid to the right of the bride, and so-on until the bridal partly are all accounted for.

The other standard way is to just have guests arranged boy & girl around the table.

Really though, it doesn't matter how the guests are arranged. Just arrange them however you think would work. It's more important to ensure that:

  • The bridal table is situated so it is in plain site of everyone at the reception.
  • Everyone at the bridal table is facing the rest of the reception. It is important that no-one has their backs to the reception!
  • There is ample room around the bridal table, so that guests can easily get to the table and congratulate the newly married couple.

The other thing to consider is the table decorations. Keep any table decorations small and to the center of the tables. Your guests want to be able to talk to each other and not around the centerpiece! This can't be stressed enough! Sure, you want nice looking decorations, but making sure that everyone can talk too each other easily is much more important!

If you want to have candles then keep them low. Try candle-float bowls and maybe a few roses (or any other flower heads) floating in the bowl. Candle wreaths also look good, especially when placed on a small candle holder.

The bridal table centerpiece should be something just a little more elaborate than the decorations of the other guests tables but along the same theme. Again, make sure it isn't too big! The guests need to be able to see the bride and groom!

In regards to the colors you use, try neutral colors like pink, cream or white, as these will match most color themes. The bridal table should have a white cloth, offset against a coloured table. Why not mix and match colours on the guests tables? This adds fun and makes things look happy and alive. Don't be afraid to use color!

A final tip: Try not to make the reception too formal. Relax, and have some fun!

Peta D'Silva is the webmaster of http://www.visionsofsilk.com, a website devoted to silk-bouquets, and other wedding-related subjects. Read more of her articles about weddings here

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